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indifferent to my reputation, for mere reputation's sake, I found myself able to study and recite with greater ease and self-possession. Formerly, my extreme anxiety to do well, and my morbid dread of doing ill, had occasioned an irritability and hurry of spirits, which often threw me off my selfcommand, and produced the very evils I sought to avoid. But now, having little desire, except to do my duty, I was cool, collected, and preserved the full command of my powers; so that, to my surprise, I acquitted myself better than formerly, and rose in my class, rather than fell. A certain portion of every day was sacredly devoted to religious exercises-and studies; and the time thus subtracted from classical pursuits was more than compensated by the steadiness of mind, and equanimity of feeling, which it produced.

Here, then, was the first reward of my renewed fidelity. I was permitted to experience, then, as I have always done since, that our religion has the promise of the life which now is, as well as of that which is to come. How many deceive themselves, and are miserable, from not knowing, this! They sell themselves to the world, and take the world's wages; which, at the moment of death, they are compelled to resign, and then have nothing which they can carry hence. Whereas, in the service of God, they might have no less enjoyed what earth affords, besides all the present and future satisfactions of the soul, which are far richer and purer. There is no state of the mind so happy in itself, and at the same time so fitted for success in the duties of the world, and for contentment amid its difficulties, as the tranquil and composed frame of habitual devotion.

From this time, my resolution was taken to devote myself to the ministry. There had always been a prevailing desire in my mind to engage in this office; but sometimes my

distrust of myself, and sometimes my occupation in other studies, had prevented me from making an absolute decision. But my late experience had so wrought upon me, that I could think of no other occupation consistent with duty. I suspected it to be my father's wish, though he had never intimated it to me. When I named to him my determination, he expressed his hearty approbation. "This," said he, "is what I have looked forward to with earnest hope. It has been from your childhood my constant wish and prayer, that I might see you joined with me in the great work of the gospel. I rejoice that the day has come, and that, without one doubt or fear, I may encourage you to go on, and bid you God speed. Your faith and perseverance have been tested. You know what trial is, and will be able, from the wisdom of personal experience, to help others who are tried. Enter the work and prosper. You will still meet with trials severe and heavy; but He, in whose strength you have hitherto been safe, will always provide a way of escape, if you but seek it."

I would that I had room to record all the instructions which he imparted, on this and on other occasions, with the affectionate piety of a Christian minister, and the overflowing tenderness of a parent. I would that I had been more sensible, at the time, of their value, and how much it was enhanced by the fact, that I was not long to enjoy his intercourse. But for two precious years I did enjoy it. I was employed as teacher of the school in my native village, and lived and studied in the house of my birth. I was my parent's companion at home, and in his visits abroad. I read with him the most important books, in my preparatory studies, and we conversed familiarly on all topics of the ology and morals. Happy and profitable were those days, when I was permitted to cheer the declining path of him

who

gave me birth, at the same time that I was drawing from him treasures of ministerial experience, to guide me after he should have departed!

CHAPTER IX.

THE entrance on the ministry is a period of anxiety and excitement of spirit, to which no one can look back, even after the lapse of years, without a throb of emotion. To a conscientious man, who feels the weight and responsibility of the office, the exercises of that season are deep and trying. About to appear as the messenger of God's word to the

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souls of men, to be the herald of eternal truths, to be a fellow-laborer with Christ in the work of human salvation, and the bearer of the prayers and intercessions of men to the mercy-seat of Heaven, his spirit is oppressed, and trembling, and ready to faint; for how can he discharge so various and awful vocations? But then, again, when he considers the incalculable importance of the work, to which none other on earth is to be equalled, — when he thinks of the honor of bearing part in it, the shame of drawing back, and the wide field for doing good, his spirits become animated, and he girds himself for the toil with alacrity and zeal. It seems as it were but yesterday, that I was passing through this alternation of hopes and fears, of exhilaration and despondency. I still see the chamber which I paced for hours, anxious and sleepless, night after night, and where I gradually gained resolution to begin the sacred work. Forty-seven years are past and gone; but it is fresh as the memory of to-day. I have, in those years, passed

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through heavy vicissitudes of earthly lot, and waves of trouble have rolled over my heart, enough to obliterate from it every trace of that early anxiety. But it abides vividly in my memory, and the old man of seventy-two feels over again, as he writes, all the solicitudes of the youth of twenty-five.

It was on the third of September, that, after a ride of twenty miles, I reached the village where my father had recommended me to make the first trial of my gifts. I bore a letter from him in my pocket to Mr. Carverdale, the infirm minister of the place, offering my service to aid him on the Sabbath. The sun was just throwing its last beams upon the spire of the meeting-house, as I came upon the little common where it stood, and cast my eyes around in search of the minister's house. This is easily known in a country village, and I immediately rode up to a neat cottage, with a small yard before it, which stood just back of the meetinghouse, and was almost lost amid the trees which threw their aged branches around and over it. The old gentleman was sitting in his arm-chair at the open door, looking out upon the setting sun. I alighted, and approached him with the letter in my hand. While he was engaged in reading it, I had leisure to collect myself, and study the appearance of a man whom I had not seen since I was a child, and to whom I was an entire stranger. He was a tall, thin man, whose few remaining hairs were white with the hoary frost of age, and his countenance marked with years and suffering. But there was a majesty and serenity in it which struck me with awe, and would have become an apostle. I think St. John might have looked so, when he was carried into the church, as he approached his hundredth year, to repeat his customary benediction, "Little children, love one another."

"You are heartily welcome," said he, when he had finished the perusal of the letter;" and I thank your father for

his kindness in sending you. But he was always kind, and I can present no better prayer for his son than that he may be like him. I was doubting if I should be able to speak to my poor people to-morrow. I am unusually feeble; I have

sensibly decayed this week. I might not be able to address them. But now they will be instructed from younger lips. It will be enough for me to break to them the holy bread. Who knows but I am glad to have all my strength for that.

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may be the last time?"

I felt called upon to say something, and, with the real diffidence which I felt, I said that I was very sorry he would not have a better substitute to-morrow.

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Young man," said he, "let me warn you against a trick of disparaging yourself in this way. It does not become the simplicity and sincerity of the ministerial character. are in your Master's service, and should use such language to none but him. It may be modesty now, but it will become vanity vanity in its most disgusting dress, the guise of humility. Think of nothing but to do your duty. Do that as well as you are able, and be not anxious to say or to hear in what manner it is done."

This advice did me great good. It taught me to guard against that sensitiveness to the opinions of others which is so apt to disorder the motives of action, and has saved me, perhaps, from that painful and ridiculous habit, which I have witnessed in some, of always speaking slightingly of what they do for the sake of hearing it praised. It becomes the dignity of a preacher of the gospel not to speak of his labors at all, except to some confidential friend, and for the sake of improvement.

"I do not mean to pain you," continued he, "for I have no reason to doubt your sincerity; but I use an old man's privilege of plain speaking, to put you on your guard. My

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